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Home History In The Past

The Island in the Past PDF Print E-mail

1579-1715
The first construction phase  of the fort lasted from 1579 until 1586. Repairs and alterations to the fort were made before and during the Cretan War (1645-1669). During the Venetian period the fortress was used for military purposes. The buildings that were inside the facility met the needs of guard.That period of the Cretan War (1645-1669) went to Spinalonga refugees and rebels (Hainides), having as basis the island harass the Turks. Their action lasted as long as the Venetians held the fort after the treaty of surrender of Candia in 1669 Spinalonga remained in the ownership of Venice.

1715-1904
After the island's occupation by the Turks in 1715 in Spinalonga gradually formed a settlement purely Ottoman. During the first centuries of Ottoman fortress marginalized and used as a place of exile and isolation. But at the end of the 19th century things changed. The role of the port of Spinalonga is upgraded and is licensed as export trade. By the mid 19th centur large numbers of residents concetrates on the island, mostly merchants and sailors who take advantage of the safety of the fortified settlement exploit trade routes of eastern Mediterranean.

The life of this village was stopped abruptly because of political developments that took place in Crete during the last years of the 19th century. The uncertainty that prevailed among the Ottomans in Crete because of the revolutionary action of the Christians forced the majority of residents of Spinalonga in migration. At 1897 the island for about a year French military forces were settled on Spinalonga .

1904-1957
The Cretan State in 1903 introduced the isolation of lepers, and decided to create a hospital on Spinalonga for the coordinated assistance of the patients with Hansen's disease. The difficult lives of the sick, who stayed on the island until 1957, marked the place and recharge emotionally making the place martyrdom and historical memory.

Source: Ministry of Culture http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/gh351.jsp?obj_id=2607
Translation: Val. Lempidakis